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EP 05 / Greg Golkin / Partner @ Kitchen Fund

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Greg has invested in numerous well-known restaurants. His keen eye for that magic spark and his love for restaurants and the future the industry drive his success. In this episode, we unpack the details of what he sees for the future and what gets his attention when it comes to evaluating opportunities.

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Greg Golkin - Partner at Kitchen Fund
EP 05 / Greg Golkin / Partner @ Kitchen Fund

Show Notes

In my chat with Greg, we unpack the launch of Tastemaker Acquisition and the interconnectivity of technology and behavior. We dive deep into the impact of technology on the industry and how pandemic accelerated adoption and behavioral shifts and so much more:

  • The shortcoming of tacking on marketing features poorly. Letting bakers bake the bread.
  • Stepping away from Cookies and traceability. How do we connect with people.
  • The value exchange for knowing customers’ behaviors and likes.
  • Discussed KitchenFund’s portfolio and lack of Full Service.
  • The importance of the goodbye. Discussing how to give excellent experiences and working backward from the time when someone leaves. Collaborating between operations, marketing, and other stakeholders.
  • Patron’s perceptual layer and their desired values and optics.


Notable concepts under Kitchen Fund umbrella:

Curry Up Now
Gregory’s Coffee
Bamboo Sushi

They spend all of their days thinking about how they identify great concepts. Looking for authenticity.

Authenticity is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. You need this as a brand to exist.

It’s why we don’t get into starting restaurants. They invest in entrepreneurs that have a passion that emanates throughout the company.

They look for a maniacal customer base. They speak with their wallet.

NPS scores can be valuable because people promote concepts and restaurants unlike other industries.

How many times a customer comes back is a big indicator of a brand’s strength. 

Reactivation is critical (speaking to limited time offers’ power) – a key skill of any brand. Layer on technology to tell the guest about the new items (e.g. CRM/App.)

What you do with data is just as important as collecting it in the restaurant industry. Still trying to figure it out because it’s a multi-channel business.

There are differences in behaviors and how they acquire the food. Operators lose the behavior data when someone switches from drive-thru to indoor.

Tastemaker Acquisition’s launch is focused both on traditional growth restaurant brands and an avenue for looking at restaurant technology.

Tastemaker Acquisition is a SPAC looking for much larger restaurant companies in the billion-dollar range.

Checkmate – takes all of the delivery platforms and POS systems.

Wisely – take data from systems and make sense of the data for companies to review/evaluate.

A POS company is never going to be a good marketing company/platform. 

With cookies going away, we’re going to need more buy-in from the guest. Attract them and develop the relationship to order direct. Can’t be as sneaky. It was a Wild West for a while.

Loves Starbucks because they hit him up with drinks that he wouldn’t have thought about. Mixing things that already exist: Almond Milk with Honey. They know his ordering history.

Convenience has been important for years. The pie is just getting bigger. Full Service has gotten smaller however there are stories within that space that are important.

KF believes in experiential. Convenience and experiential are the things that matter moving forward.

Involved in Bamboo Sushi – full service but feels special. Use the term Party Sushi to give an elevated experience for a price that works.

It’d be weird if you paid for your concert ticket after the concert is over.

Having hugs on the way out of a restaurant may be a great idea.

Tidbit of wisdom for pitching an unproven concept: the reason for being and what differentiates this concept from others out there. Humility. Understand that we’re in the service business. Acting like a tech company is not really understanding the business. Understand who the guest is – that may be the best thing to tell people. Very few brands know that.

“It all starts with who’s your guest and why they love you. Your guest cannot be everybody.” 

Notes from CMO of Coca-Cola – You want people to feel like their best selves. Each brand can do that in a different way.


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